New Delhi: The space circuit is buzzing in anticipation of the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) historical Chandrayaan-II mission, which will mark India's first lunar landing.
The cost of the entire mission is INR 800 crore – much cheaper than the cost of Hollywood's 2014 sci-fi blockbuster 'Interstellar', that cost a whopping INR 1,062 crore ($165 million).
In fact, ISRO's Mars mission launched in 2013 cost INR 470 crore, was also cheaper than the Hollywood movie 'Gravity' which was made on a budget of INR 644 crore or $100 million and was made in the same year.
This will be India's second lunar mission and is slated for an April 2018 launch. While this is not India's first mission to the Moon, it is certainly the Indian government’s most ambitious Moon research project till date.
With Chandrayaan-II, ISRO has not only completed the project on time but has also shown that it is extremely cost-effective.
In an interview with the Times of India (TOI), ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan said, 'We keep a strict vigil on every stage of spacecraft’s development, therefore, we are able to avoid wastage of products.'
In a previous interview with TOI, Dr Sivan had revealed that two landing sites for the rover have been identified, out of which one would be finalized. He also added that no other moon mission has landed in this area.
Chandrayaan-II will be launched from Sriharikota and will take one or two months time for the orbiter to reach the moon's orbit, the ISRO chief said.
While Chandrayaan-I was launched aboard the PSLV rocket, the carrier choice for Chandrayaan-II – a 3,290 kg spacecraft – will be the heavy-payload lifter GSLV Mk II.
The mission will carry a six-wheeled rover which will move around the landing site in a semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands. The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil.
According to ISRO, the wheeled rover will drive on the lunar surface and will perform a chemical investigation on site. The information will be transmitted to Earth through the Chandrayaan-II orbiter.
After approaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the lander covering the rover will depart from the orbiter. After a controlled fall, the lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a particularised site and dispose of the rover.